Demonstrators arrested in protest against pipeline
A number of protesters were arrested while rallying against the construction of a gas pipeline in West Roxbury on Thursday, police and demonstrators said.
About 90 people went to the site on Grove Street Thursday morning, held signs, and chanted in opposition to the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline, which is being built by Spectra Energy. More than 30 ventured onto the construction site in an attempt to stop work, with the intention of being arrested, protester Mary Boyle said.
According to the group Resist the Pipeline, 26 demonstrators were arrested and six were released on site without being arrested.
Boston police spokeswoman Myeshia Henderson said several people were arrested, but could not confirm the exact number.
Many of the protesters sat on the edge of the hole that will house the 16-inch steel pipe, before being led away by police.
“This is wrong,” Boyle said of the pipeline. “This is happening, and it’s wrong.”
Demonstrators claim that a large pipe with a high amount of gas pressure going through a residential neighborhood is disruptive and unsafe. In addition, the construction is across the street from a rock quarry, a frequent site for dynamite blasts. Boyle said that makes residents like herself feel unsafe and worried about a possible rupture in the pipeline.
Spectra spokeswoman Marylee Hanley said the pipeline has “undergone more than three years of intense scrutiny” by federal agencies and meets the safety regulations.
“Spectra respects the right of individuals to peacefully protest,” Hanley said. “However . . . we do not condone actions that take critical public safety and first responders away from their duties.”
Hanley added that by entering the construction site, the protesters put their own lives at risk.
At the rally, several people held signs stating they #StandWithMary, a sign of solidarity with Boyle, who goes to the construction site every morning six days a week.
“Once construction started in West Roxbury back in the fall of 2015, I began to stand every morning from 8 to 9 at the site of construction. I hold up signs and I wave at drivers,” she said. “I don’t want [Spectra] to ever forgot that there is opposition to this.”